Outside Plant

in Plant

Distribution Frame

Network connections between devices such as computers, printers, and phones require a physical infrastructure to carry and process signals. Typically, this infrastructure will consist of:

Cables from wall outlets and jacks run to a communications closets, sometimes referred to as station cable.

Cables connecting one communications closet to another, sometimes referred to as riser cable.

Racks containing telecommunications hardware, such as switches, routers, and repeaters.

Cables connecting one building to another.

Exterior communications cabinets containing hardware outside of buildings.

Radio transceivers used inside or outside buildings, such as wireless access points, and hardware associated with them, such as antennas and towers.

The portion of this infrastructure contained within a building is the inside plant, and the portion of this infrastructure connecting buildings or facilities is the outside plant. Where these two plants meet in a given structure is the demarcation point.

Outside plant cabling, whether copper or fiber, is generally installed as aerial cable between poles, in an underground conduit system, or by direct burial. Hardware associated with the outside plant must be either protected from the elements (for example, distribution frames are generally protected by a street side cabinet) or constructed with materials suitable for exposure to the elements. Installation of the outside plant elements often require construction of significant physical infrastructure, such as underground vaults. In older large installations, cabling is sometimes protected by air pressure systems designed to prevent water infiltration. While this is not a modern approach, the cost of replacement of the older cabling with sealed cabling is often prohibitively expensive. The cabling used in the outside plant must also be protected from electrical disturbances caused by lightning or voltage surges due to electrical shorts or induction.

Example: Copper access network

In civilian telecommunications, the copper access network (also known as the local loop) providing basic telephone or DSL services typically consists of the following elements:

In-house wiring that connects customer premises equipment to the demarcation point, usually in residential installations contained in a weather protected box.

One or more twisted pairs, called a drop wire. The drop wires typically connect to a splice case, located in line for aerial cables, or in a small weather protected case for underground wiring, where the local cabling is connected to a secondary feeder line. These cables contain fifty or more twisted pairs.

Secondary feeder lines run to a streetside cabinet containing a distribution frame called a Serving Area Interface (SAI).

The SAI is connected to the main distribution frame, located at a Telephone exchange or other switching facility, by one or more primary feeder lines which contain hundreds of copper twisted pairs. An SAI may also contain a Digital subscriber line access multiplexer (DSLAM) supporting DSL service.

Active equipment (such as a POTS or DSL line circuit) can then be connected to the line in order to provide service, but this is not considered part of outside plant.

See also

Inside plant

Further Reading

Discount-Low-Voltage.com Blog - How Outside Plant Cable is Made


^ a b "Telecommunications: Glossary of Telecommunication Terms". http://www.its.bldrdoc.gov/fs-1037/fs-1037c.htm. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

^ "Outside Plant Cabling". http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_outside_plant_cabling/. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

^ "Preparing for Outside Plant Installation". http://www.ecmag.com/?fa=article&articleID=10340. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

^ "Understand Air Pressure Systems for OSP Cabling". http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_understanding_air_pressure/index.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

^ "Protecting Your Assets with Bonding and Grounding". http://ecmweb.com/mag/electric_protecting_assets_bonding/index.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 

^ "Outside Plant: Basic Elements". http://www.privateline.com/OSP/No.html. Retrieved 2010-02-02. 


Categories: Telecommunications infrastructureHidden categories: Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the Federal Standard 1037C | Wikipedia articles incorporating text from MIL-STD-188
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This article was published on 2010/12/31